When musicians need help on social channels, we listen—and respond.”

Tom Sumner, Senior Vice President

From pianos to piccolos to timpani, Yamaha supplies the world's musicians with quality instruments. When its customers have questions or issues, they turn to a variety of channels to seek assistance. Whether they're tweeting, calling, or sending an email, customers can expect a quick and consistent response, thanks to Yamaha's transformation to a Social Enterprise—the business equivalent of a finely tuned orchestra.

It all started several years ago, when Yamaha recognised the need to become a more customer-centric company. Since then, the multi-industry corporation has been realising a cultural shift, including an initiative to improve social interactions with customers and streamline internal processes.

On the marketing and customer experience side of things, social initiatives weren't anything new at Yamaha. The company even had processes to hand off customers' issues uncovered on social channels. But it was far from seamless. "Trying to pass customer issues from social media to customer service involved a painful hodge podge of systems and processes," says Jeff Hawley, Director of Customer Experience.

The solution has been to dramatically streamline the path from Yamaha's social channels to service agents with help from salesforce.com's Service Cloud. "We essentially socialised the contact centre and the entire service experience," says Hawley. If someone tweets about a problem with an instrument, Yamaha doesn't treat it any differently than any other channel—it's converted to a case just as if the person called the company for help. "Customers don't care about channels and process," continues Hawley. "They just want their questions answered and their issues resolved quickly."

Customers today also expect companies to know them and remember their history. Consolidated customer profiles stored in Salesforce help Yamaha keep track of customers and their various social and non-social interactions.

Operating as a Social Enterprise has many direct benefits for customers. Rick Williams, Manager of Customer Support, says customers also benefit indirectly from how much happier Yamaha's customer service agents are with their new, less complex process. "If an agent is happy, there's going to be a happy customer on the other end of that interaction." And that's music to Yamaha's ears.

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